Defining My Brand


Join entrepreneur Ellen Burton as she tackles every aspect of a personal branding makeover with The Image Studios. Today, she talks about understanding her “personal style baseline.”

I’m ready to get rolling, but first, I had to complete a pretty in-depth questionnaire about my lifestyle, my values, how I think I’m perceived and what I’d like to express with my image. Another way to say it: what I’d like new people to know about me without saying a word.

I have to tell you, some of the questions were tough to answer. How the heck should I know how I am perceived by others?

In a coaching session with Kali Raoul, founder of The Image Studios, we determined my brand attributes. These are the attributes that capture my essence: spiritual, intelligent, healthy, wise and sensitive. The Image Studios’ nomenclature for my brand is my “Personal Style Baseline.” My entire “brand,” message and image are built on my style baseline.

Another outcome of the session was an understanding of my communication profile. I learned that I am naturally a strong vocal and behavioral communicator and that visual communication is…well, not a first or second language for me.

Today, I am more easily effective in situations where visual communication is subordinated to vocal and behavioral communication, like live one-on-one meetings and phone calls. This is pretty interesting to me since my coaching practice has focused on one-on-one phone sessions with clients.

Kali explained that as I align my visual communication, I will more effectively communicate in visually dominated environments, like on camera, live public speaking engagements and networking settings. This sounds good to me, because I want to have high-impact with large audiences.

My question is: Is it possible that how I look is telling a different story than what I say and how I behave?




Not only is it possible that how you look may be telling a different story than how you sound and behave, but based on your communication profile, it is very likely that how you look is received differently than what you intend to communicate. That is, until you retool your visual presence to say what you mean.

Most everyone has communication strengths and weaknesses. Communication is multi-faceted: visual, vocal, behavioral and even spatial. Typically, we use and refine the one or two modalities with which we are naturally most effective. For you, those strengths are what you say; how you say it; and the many, many elements of how you behave.

Naturally, you have affirming body language, engaged posture, meaningful and intentional eye contact and facial expressions. You “do” to express yourself to others. You speak with an ease and grace that resonates with others and connects with them emotionally. You find just the right words, at the right time to query your audience in a manner that is comfortable for them. Through words and sounds you learn from others and express yourself. Wow! With that package, it’s no wonder you use it and perfect it – and pay little attention to how things “look.” I respect that.

You are less likely to make decisions based on the appearance of things. And you pay less attention to how you look. When you do direct your attention toward sculpting an outfit or hairstyle or makeup, your choices are skewed because you don’t speak that language.

Lucky for you, visual presence is the fastest and least expensive to delegate. Hairstylists, department store personal shoppers and makeup counter artists abound ready to help you create your look. Now you are armed with your brand. Tell them Your Personal Style Baseline and let the experts go to work for you!



About Kali Patrice

Kali Patrice is the founder of The Image Studios, a Chicago-based firm that specializes in branding and image communication. She blogs through “Successful Expression” to share fresh ways to share insights about image, personal branding and self-expression.